AUGUSTA — The state is asking a judge to order that a defendant charged with murder be treated with medication that could make him competent to stand trial.

Leroy H. Smith III, 25, has been found incompetent to stand trial or even be arraigned on an indictment charging him with murdering his father in the apartment they shared in Gardiner in May 2014.

Police say Smith stabbed Leroy Smith Jr., 56, to death on May 3, 2014, dismembered the body and distributed remains in a rural area of Richmond.

The younger Smith was arrested two days after the slaying, and at the Cumberland County Jail, he allegedly told officers he had killed his father and “filleted him and buried him in the woods because his dad sexually assaulted him his whole life,” according to an affidavit by Maine State Police Detective Jonah O’Roak.

Smith has been held at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta after a judge concluded he was not competent to face the charge or assist his attorneys. Smith had a history of mental illness and wrote on his Facebook page in February 2014 that he had been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment after an argument with his father.

In the fall of 2013, the younger Smith was banned from his Westborough, Massachusetts, apartment for upsetting tenants there, and later moved in with his father in Gardiner.

Smith, whose lean frame and long dark hair and beard make him look taller than his 5-foot-11 height, maintains he is a political prisoner and has tried to fire his court-appointed attorneys, saying they failed to represent him properly. At one point he sent a printed letter to the court, writing, “So once again so that everything is clear, I am demanding a new lawyering staff and a no contact order against my former one.”

At a court hearing in January 2015, Smith addressed the judge directly, saying that a gun was held to his head in 2011 in an incident involving the heavy metal band Slayer, and that he exchanged messages with that band.

Forensic psychologists have evaluated Smith several times, and Justice Donald Marden signed an order on Jan. 5 finding Smith incompetent to stand trial. He ordered Smith committed to the custody of the state commissioner of heath and human services and placed in a program “for observation, care and treatment of people with mental illness. …”

Now the state, through Assistant Attorney General Deborah Cashman, is asking a judge to order that Smith be medicated involuntarily in an effort to restore him to competence.

Smith’s attorneys, Scott Hess and Pamela Ames, have objected to that, saying that forcibly medicating Smith would be “a significant violation of his constitutional rights.”

Cashman’s motion says Smith’s thought processes, which had been described as “floridly delusional,” had improved while he was taking Seroquel, a psychiatric medication, for sleep problems.

“While taking the Seroquel, the (Riverview) treatment team notes indicated no psychosis evident,” Cashman wrote. However, Smith refused to continue taking the medication and rejected other medication.

Cashman’s motion says that an Aug. 11 letter from Miriam Davidson, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, reporting on Smith’s status, says, “Mr. Smith is not consenting to the recommended treatment by the hospital and is unlikely to be restored to competency without the administration of psychiatric medication over his objection.”

She said that with Smith’s diagnosis of a delusional disorder, “medication is necessary and substantially likely to render Mr. Smith competent.”

Davidson also wrote that “less intrusive” treatments over the past six months have been unsuccessful in restoring him to competence.

Cashman said the state has “a “significant interest in restoring defendant’s competency in this case.”

According to the affidavit filed in the criminal case, Smith told police he stabbed his father in the head and neck and then used three knives to “dismember his father” — a Ginsu knife, an Asian-style knife and an unidentified third weapon. The state medical examiner found that the elder Smith was stabbed to death, saying he died of “sharp force trauma,” according to investigators. Smith told police he videotaped the killing and the FBI “told him to put a video of the event on YouTube” but said he later deleted the video. The younger Smith then cleaned up everything — even renting a carpet steamer — and took $1,463 from his father’s wallet.

In arguing against the forced medication, Hess wrote that “there is scant evidence that Mr. Smith can be restored through medication.” Hess also says that Smith discontinued the Seroquel because of side effects.

“The state is simply prohibited from treating Mr. Smith as a ‘guinea pig’ and experimenting with medications on the theory that his competency will improve,” Hess wrote in his objection.

Hess’s filing contains a footnote quoting a Maine law that says if a defendant is found incompetent to stand trial, and there’s little probability of restoration in the foreseeable future, “the court shall dismiss all charges against the defendant and … order the Commissioner of Heath and Human Services to commence (involuntary commitment) proceedings” to the state mental hospital.

Another note says the defense attorneys were unaware that Smith was receiving Seroquel or that his condition was improving.

“Currently the defense is not receiving discovery or updates as to Mr. Smith’s condition from Riverview,” the defense wrote.

A conference with the judge and attorneys is set for Sept. 22 at the Capital Judicial Center, and a hearing on the state’s motion for court-authorized treatment is likely to be scheduled for after that date.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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